The most surprising part of the young 2022 LCS season was without a doubt the performance of Dignitas QNTMPAY in the Lock In.
DIG, projected by most to be a bottom two team and only managing one win in Group B, upset defending LCS champion 100 Thieves 2-0 in the quarterfinals to secure a top 4 finish after losing 3-1 to eventual Lock In champion Team Liquid in the semifinals.
It's not that skepticism wasn't warranted in regards to Dignitas 2022 roster. Upon signing with DIG, support Vincent "Biofrost" Wang had not played competitively since the 2020 World Championship, and jungler Kim "River" Dong-woo was understandably expected to need some time to adjust to a new team and region after playing with PSG Talon in the PCS. Instead, River adapted to his new digs right away, and Biofrost showed little to no rust as the Lock In progressed.
At times, the skepticism surrounding DIG leading up to the start of the season turned vitriolic, particularly when pointed in the direction of mid laner Ersin "Blue" Gören. After a tough end of 2021 on SK Gaming, Blue signed with Dignitas for 2022, but before he even crossed the Atlantic Ocean, he had already been written off by many an LCS fan.
Criticism was primarily in reference to the thought that there were many teamless mid laners in North America who were better than Blue, whose summer on SK Gaming was admittedly forgettable at best. However, Blue showed resilience in his first tournament with Dignitas, punctuated by a Baron Nashor steal despite injuring his hand earlier in the day.
While he was far from the star of the show in Dignitas' impressive run in the 2022 LCS Lock In, it's safe to say that Blue exceeded initial expectations. After a hard-fought 3-1 loss to Team Liquid in the semifinals of the Lock In, Blue spoke to Inven Global and shared his thoughts on why he felt people had seemingly underestimated Dignitas QNTMPAY ahead of the start of the season and what about the team had led to them exceeding the majority of expectations from outsiders.
"I think people have maybe watched like one or two games from me or my teammates," Blue said. "I don't think people watch us fully or understand what problems we've been through and what types of teams we've been through. People like that instantly judge without trying to investigate."
Blue admitted that he did not expect the amount of negativity that he received before even playing a game in a Dignitas jersey, but his hopes are high following the team's top 4 finish in the LCS Lock In.
"I want to go to Worlds with this team. I think we have really good potential as a team and everyone can see that," Blue said when reflecting on the Lock In. "I think we improved really fast from the games we played against CLG and EG. We knew what to focus on, and the next day, we were way better. I think we're getting better everyday. I think, in the end, we can be a top 3 team. I believe in us and everyone believes in everyone."
For Blue, the change of environment might have been the career shakeup he needed, as he painted the envrionment of SK Gaming in stark contrats to that of Dignitas. "In SK Gaming, everyone wanted to carry and everyone wanted to play what they want...The atmosphere wasn't good," Blue said.
"It's completely different here," the DIG mid laner continued. "I can talk with my teammates. We can say what we want and how we want to play. We are having fun, we like each other, and we are improving fast...No one has ego, they're all happy to sacrifice themselves for others." When asked if anything from his experience on SK Gaming was helping him succeed thus far on Dignitas, Blue was blunt: "I don't think I learned anything in SK."
Dignitas face off against Immortals in their first match of the 2022 LCS Spring Split on Saturday, February 5.